The Gods of Mars

By Edgar Rice Burroughs

Page 171

was like stopping a buzz
saw with the bare hand.

From my position on the deck beside Kantos Kan I saw ship after ship of
the enemy take the awful, sickening dive which proclaims its total
destruction. Slowly we manoeuvered our circle of death until we hung
above the gardens where our green warriors were engaged. The order was
passed down for them to embark. Then they rose slowly to a position
within the centre of the circle.

In the meantime the therns' fire had practically ceased. They had had
enough of us and were only too glad to let us go on our way in peace.
But our escape was not to be encompassed with such ease, for scarcely
had we gotten under way once more in the direction of the entrance to
Omean than we saw far to the north a great black line topping the
horizon. It could be nothing other than a fleet of war.

Whose or whither bound, we could not even conjecture. When they had
come close enough to make us out at all, Kantos Kan's operator received
a radio-aerogram, which he immediately handed to my companion. He read
the thing and handed it to me.

"Kantos Kan:" it read. "Surrender, in the name of the Jeddak of
Helium, for you cannot escape," and it was signed, "Zat Arras."

The therns must have caught and translated the message almost as soon
as did we, for they immediately renewed hostilities when they realized
that we were soon to be set upon by other enemies.

Before Zat Arras had approached near enough to fire a shot we were
again hotly engaged with the thern fleet, and as soon as he drew near
he too commenced to pour a terrific fusillade of heavy shot into us.
Ship after ship reeled and staggered into uselessness beneath the
pitiless fire that we were undergoing.

The thing could not last much longer. I ordered the transports to
descend again into the gardens of the therns.

"Wreak your vengeance to the utmost," was my message to the green
allies, "for by night there will be none left to avenge your wrongs."

Presently I saw the ten battleships that had been ordered to hold the
shaft of Omean. They were returning at full speed, firing their stern
batteries almost continuously. There could be but one explanation.
They were being pursued by another hostile fleet. Well, the situation
could be no worse. The expedition already was doomed. No man that had
embarked upon it would return

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